Female-fronted melodic hard rock is not a very common genre. Bands like Flyleaf and possibly Evanescence and The Letter Black are the first ones that come to mind. Now add in that they have to come from Holland and you probably would be stumped. For those looking for female-fronted hard rock with some European metal influence, look no further than La – Ventura.
La – Ventura formed back in 2007 and have released two albums and one ep to date. Their debut album A New Beginning came out in 2008 through Renaissance Records and was followed up by Breaking the Silence ep in 2010. Their second full length album White Crow actually was released in early 2013 as an independent release but was recently picked up and re-released by Valkyrie Rising in an enhanced digipak format with two bonus tracks.
White Crow opens up with some heavy riffs and a bit of groove and an almost sludgy feel in terms of tempo. Carla van Huizen’s vocals come in and then the song shifts to mostly mid-tempo choppy riffing and drumming backing the vocals which do have hints of Amy Lee (Evanescence) but are distinct. Song structure tends to remind me a bit of older Flyleaf but seems a bit more restrained. Production quality is high and the album was originally recorded in a mixed digital/analog format at MII Studio in France. My only issue is that the music tends to play a supporting role to the vocals, which dominate the overall sound. Carla van Huizen has a great voice so that’s not a significant issue but does take away from the overall impact the songs could have.
Those who have heard the band before may recognize that “White Crow”, and “Human Vanity” were all on the Breaking the Silence ep. As often happens in these situations, those two songs did stand out for me as sounding more developed than others on the album, but that is expected since they have been in the band’s repertoire longer than the others. The re-release includes a radio edit of “Close to You” which obviously makes this song the one the band is most likely to use to generate interest. From a listener perspective, “Close to You” has a similar structure to other songs on the album, with the choppy riffing and drums during the verse sections and melodic soaring chorus sections.
Overall there really isn’t a bad song on the album, it’s very listenable. Unfortunately, it feels as if it too safe as if the band was holding back. Vocals are strong but a bit restrained and lacking flashes of strong emotion. The production was very clean and perhaps a bit too clean, resulting in a product that is too smooth. It’s like it’s a knife with rounded edges, you see the potential sharpness and cutting but in the end things are safe. I would really like to see what La – Ventura sound like in a live situation as the sharp edges would be in full display.
Written by John Jackson
1. Falling Down
2. Human Vanity
3. Close to You
4. Song for an Idiot
5. White Crow
7. Time and Time Again
8. Neverending Story
9. The Only One
10. Watch Me Go
11. Close to You (radio edit)
12. Memoria (bonus track)
Carla van Huizen – Vocals
Sasha Kondic – Guitar
Mike Saffrie – Bass
Stefan Simons – Drums
“Trefoil” (Demo) 2006
“A New Beginning” (Full-length) 2007
“Breaking the Silence” (EP) 2009
“White Crow” (Full-length) 2013
Record Label: Independent, March 2013/Valkyrie Rising (digipak), 2014
Video for ‘Falling Down’